The design of dispute settlement procedures in international agreements

Barbara Koremenos, Timm Betz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

25 Scopus citations


What explains the inclusion of formal dispute settlement procedures in international agreements? Delegating anykind of decision-making comes at a significant sovereignty cost, as Abbott and Snidal (2000: 436) note. From this perspective, instances of delegation are puzzling. Some legal scholars, however, argue that international law becomes more effective the more “lawlike” it is. Helfer and Slaughter (1997: 283), for instance, regard international tribunals as an integral part of “a global community of law.” From this perspective, the absence of dispute resolution mechanisms in some agreements is what begs an explanation. Based on game theory insights, Koremenos (2007) argues that the inclusion of dispute settlement procedures in international agreements is a deliberate choice by governments, made to address specific cooperation problems. The implication is that international law is designed efficiently: dispute settlement procedures are likely to be incorporated into agreements if, but only if, they are needed to solve specific problems. Her data confirm this viewpoint.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives on International Law and International Relations
Subtitle of host publicationThe State of the Art
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781139107310
ISBN (Print)9781107020740
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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